Judy Taylor, a painter who lives on Mount Desert Island, stands in front of preliminary sketches on a wall on Water Street in downtown Ellsworth where she and a team of assistants will paint a large mural in the coming weeks. Credit: Bill Trotter / BDN

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A long-planned downtown mural has begun to take shape at a Water Street building and is expected to be completed in the next couple of weeks.

The mural is a project by local community group Heart of Ellsworth and is being designed by artist Judy Taylor, who is known for creating the 11-panel Maine Labor Mural.

The Ellsworth mural will feature images from the city’s history being revealed by painted figures peeling back the wall’s brick surface.

Taylor, a resident of Mount Desert Island, is getting some help on the project, too. An image of her design was projected on the south wall of home decor business Coastal Interiors last weekend so that she and others could trace outlines of some of the images on the painted brick surface. Coastal Maine General Contracting in Bar Harbor is providing equipment to safely lift painters up on the wall, and Benjamin Moore & Co. is donating the paint.

And on Wednesday, a group of students form Ellsworth High School helped cut out some stencils of birds and fish that will be used to paint a portion of the mural.

“I want [the animal images] to look like confetti,” Taylor said. The animals will swoop down one side of the mural and up the other.

The people painted in the mural will be stylized figures without facial features. Scenes of the former Hancock County Jail, the massive 1933 fire that destroyed much of downtown, members of Wabanaki tribe paddling a canoe, and Ellsworth High School basketball players (the boys’ team won back-to-back state championships in the 1950s) will be among those depicted in the mural. The words “Ellsworth Maine” will be painted in the center.

“There are going to be reveals spread out around the wall,” Taylor said.

This weekend, in conjunction with local Maine Craft Weekend celebrations, painting will begin in earnest on the large wall, which is roughly 30 feet high and 60 feet long.

Taylor will also give a talk on mural painting at 1 p.m. Saturday at the mural site. It’s free and open to the public. The next day, weather permitting, a team of assistants — some from out of state — will help bring Taylor’s vision to reality.

“My students,” said Taylor, who has taught painting at the K-8 level and at professional workshops around the country and in Europe. “They really want to work on this. Sunday, I am going to have a big crew here.”

The goal, Taylor said, is to have the mural completed by Oct. 15, if the weather cooperates.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....